This summer we spent quite a bit of time with another family at their lake house. Our kids are roughly the same ages and get along well, most of the time. One of our favorite group activities is cruising around the lake in their boat. Their kids really enjoy waterskiing and tubing, but our kids, not so much.
The Blonde Bomber likes being on a tube, but doesn’t have a whole lot of self-awareness and wouldn’t react too well falling off the tube. Middle Man is reluctant to get on the tube and will only go for a short time, at a snail’s pace. First Born flat out refuses. When she was younger she really enjoyed it, but this summer, she wouldn’t even consider it. We’ve tried letting her go with her friends, offering to ride with her, and going as slow as she wants, but nothing would get her off the boat and onto the tube.
We were once again with our friends Labor Day weekend, it was likely our last boating weekend of the year. My wife and I were desperate to get our daughter out on the tube. Why? We knew she would like it once she got going. Once again, she refused.
While it started off as a joke, we ended up offering her bribes to go tubing. First we offered her cash, but that didn’t work. We needed something more specific, flashier than cash, but less “break the bank” than American Girl. Then it hit us, a Justice gift card. She always talks about Justice. Her friends get clothes from there, a few of her birthday items from grandparents came from there, she’s always begging us to take her to Justice. She still refused.
The next day, our final day on the water, the kids were once again taking turns on the tube as my oldest sat defiantly in the front of the boat. Looking like worst parents in the word, we eventually tossed our screaming daughter on a tube (with my wife) in the middle of a lake. As soon as they were both on tube, I hit the throttle and off we went.
As soon as we were going she had to try really hard to continue frowning while on the tube. She enjoyed herself as we tubed around the lake for a few minutes. After a bit she signaled she wanted pulled in. She hopped back on the boat, held out her hand and asked, “Where’s my gift card?”
I’d honestly forgotten about the bribes we’d offered the afternoon before, but, of course, she hadn’t.
Fast forward a few days of constantly being reminded about the Justice gift card. Finally, my wife caved and off to Justice they went. Apparently the entire store was 40% so she was able to stretch her $10 gift card pretty far. After 45 minutes of searching the store, she ended up buying a monogramed light-up hand sanitizer tube and scented pencils. In the end I guess we all got what we wanted, my wife and I got our daughter to ride a tube on the back of a boat and First Born got a trip to Justice.
Personally, I’ve never seen the inside of a Justice store (and I hope I never do) but my wife said it’s a pretty terrible place. In fact, here’s exactly how she described it: “Justice- It’s like Hot Topic ate a Barbie.”